Zochrot’s “ReturnVision” Flotilla, 2019

Palestinians, Israelis, and international visitors participated in the “ReturnVision” Flotilla, an event commemorating the Nakba in Jaffa, organized by Israeli NGO Zochrot. Established in the early 2000s, Zochrot has been educating the israeli public about the 1948 expulsion of the Palestinians, and advocating the right of return for all refugees. This flotilla commemorated the expulsion of roughly 70,000 Palestinians from Jaffa, a cultural, economic, and political center in pre-1948 Palestine. The symbolism of the flotilla is twofold: to remind Israelis that Palestinians were expelled en mass, the majority by boats; on the other hand, organizers also imagine a return from the sea as well, since many of the refugees reside in Gaza. This year, organizers also targeted the international audiences in the Eurovision Village, located on the site of Manshiyyeh, a thriving neighbourhood until its fall in the spring of 1948. Manshiyyeh was utterly demolished by the authorities (with the exception of one mosque) and today the seaside park of Charles Clore stands in its stead. The israeli police, however, warned organizers to steer clear of the Eurovision Village because they did not want tourists to ask more questions about the history of the site.

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